The Bears head down to Jacksonville for the second of back-to-back road games before they hit their Week 6 bye week. Maurice Jones-Drew, Blaine Gabbert and the 32nd ranked Jaguars await the fifth ranked Chicago Bears scoring defense. On paper, the Bears should dominate, but as they always say, they don’t play the games on paper. Here are my keys to a Chicago Bears victory.
Don’t Mail it In
The Jaguars are in a familiar place, near the bottom of the standings, so it’s easy for the Bears to look past the lowly Jags. The biggest concern after a dominant defensive performance and a weak opponent standing in the way of an upcoming week off is for the Bears to mail it in. This is a veteran group and I fully expect Lovie Smith to have his guys ready to play.
Avoid Getting Bowled Over
The Jaguars’ best offensive player is running back Maurice Jones-Drew. The short and powerful running back is often referred to as a bowling ball. It’s imperative that the Bears keep MJD in check and not get bowled over. The Jags will try to pound the rock at a Bears defense that held DeMarco Murray in check last week and rank third in rushing yards allowed at 67.2 yards per game.
Keep Up the Pressure
Blaine Gabbert should not be able to beat this Bears defense and certainly won’t do it with long passes, so the Bears need to load up the box and stuff Jones-Drew. The Jaguars rank 31st in the league with just a shade of 146.2 passing yards per game. That shouldn’t be enough to beat this Bears team. Gabbert is a little shaky in the pocket and will bail out if pressured. He’s only thrown one interception this season, but this Bears secondary is on a roll and hopes to keep up their momentum from Monday night when they notched 5 picks.
Jay Cutler had a nice game against the Cowboys, but it’s time for the Bears to get back to Lovie Smith’s blueprint offensive attack – get off the bus running. The Jaguars give up 150+ yards per game on the ground and with the Bears’ 1-2 punch of Matt Forte and Michael Bush, this game sets up to give Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall an early start to their vacation while the running backs carry the water.
What do you think? What do the Bears need to do to guarantee themselves a 4-1 record heading into the bye week? Let’s hear your comments and as always…